Intentional Steps

Dear Selah Companions,

When Mary asked me to share something this month, it was an easy yes.  Easy, because I had been moved by your expressed desire for deeper “slowing and stilling” at our June Companion meeting.   These longings reflected the challenges of active living in our different seasons of life.

The Benedictines provide wise guides for living active lives contemplatively.  Esther de Waal says:  “…the Benedictine life simply consists in doing the ordinary things of daily life carefully and lovingly, with the attention and reverence that can make of them a way of prayers, a way to God.”   Attention invites conscious ways of viewing everyday acts and objects as inherently sacred when performed and regarded with care.  Attention makes space to listen to God, to ourselves and to the world around us.  And, it invites us to cultivate a sense of spontaneity and playfulness, in the midst of honoring our commitments lovingly and intentionally.

As one way to live an active life contemplatively, I offer Joyce Rupp’s “Seven steps of Morning.”   Her choice of seven reflects the symbol of wholeness.  The form can be adapted for birthdays, transitions, anniversaries, or whatever you imagine.  One could choose just one step as a way of slowing and stilling.  For example, as one waits in a car, one might desire to get out and pray just one step.  Or, as we clear the breakfast table, one might pray with each step.   Some of us might want to begin our summer days with The Seven Steps Prayer, recognizing that our Selah Companions might begin their days in the same way or in another contemplative expression that nourishes a life of intentional “slowing and stilling.”

The Seven Steps of Morning … Joyce Rupp

One small step is taken for each of the seven words.  After the word is spoken, one small step is taken.  One might choose to repeat the word, stay with the word for one or two minutes.  Then the next step is taken, the word spoken, repeated, etc.

Our first step is that of gratitude . . . for the gift of another fresh day of life.

Our second step is that of love . . . for the Holy One and for all of our dear ones.

Our third step is that of hope . . . for the possibility of growth in each moment.

Our fourth step is that of compassion . . . for all of creation and our deep connection.

Our fifth step is that of generosity . . . for all that shall be asked of us this day.

Our sixth step is that of laughter . . . for the joys that refresh our hearts. 

Our seventh step is that of patience . . . for the difficult challenges that may arise.

Giver of Life, awaken our entire being so the we can enter this day with the eagerness of one who sees beauty and truth strewn through every part of life.  Deepen our bond with you and strengthen our peace.  AMEN.

Grateful for you while remembering that St. Benedict wisely counsels “always we begin again,”

Diney R.

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